Until last week, the name Havelange referred to a football legend. But as it turned out, longstanding FIFA president João Havelange was part of a bribery scandal. Now supporters of Botafogo demand renaming of their stadium as it bears his name, Reuters informs.
As we wrote recently, Football Supporters Europe unanimously demanded Sepp Blatter to resign after Swiss Supreme Court published documents proving he was responsible of bribery. Two of those receiving his bribes were João Havelange and his son-in-law.
As this information reached Brazil, it caused outrage. And a stain on the image of one of the most modern stadia in the country. Rio de Janeiro’s Estádio Olímpico João Havelange was the host of 2007 Panamerican Games and will also see major events of the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.
Everyday use is provided by Botafogo, one of Brazil’s most popular clubs. Fans of the side weren’t particularly friendly towards their stadium patron even before as he has no association with the club. Now many of them feel personally affected as shame was brought to their venue. And so campaign for renaming is gaining support.
So far no decision or even a statement was announced by Local Organizing Committee of the 2016 event, who are the body capable of renaming the venue.
What makes the situation sensitive is the fact that Havelange is 96 and very ill.
But campaigners aren’t stopping and they propose two other patrons. One is Botafogo legend Nilton Santos who played for the club and national team in the 50’s and 60’s. Another is João Saldanha, famous coach from 1960’s.